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You can now run Windows 10 on Apple's M1 MacBooks

Parallels Apple Macbook M
Parallels Apple Macbook M (Image credit: Paralells)

What you need to know

  • Parallels Desktop 16.5 for Mac natively supports Mac computers with either Apple M1 chips or Intel processors.
  • Parallels Desktop 16.5 uses 2.5 times less energy on an M1 MacBook than a 2020 Intel-based MacBook Air.
  • The new version of Parallels Desktop delivers up to 60% better performance than when run on select Intel-based Macbook Pros.

Parallels released a new version of its flagship software today that allows you to run Windows 10 on Apple's M1 MacBooks. Parallels Desktop 16.5 is more energy efficient and delivers better performance than Parallels Desktop on Intel-based MacBooks. The new version also delivers better virtual machine performance than running a Windows 10 VM on an Intel-based MacBook Pro.

With native support for Apple's M1 chips, you can bring Windows 10 to Apple's popular MacBook hardware.

Here are some highlights from Parallels on the new version:

  • Up to 250 percent less energy used: On a Mac with an Apple M1 chip, Parallels Desktop 16.5 uses 2.5 times less energy than on a 2020 Intel-based MacBook Air computer.
  • Up to 60 percent better DirectX 11 performance: Parallels Desktop 16.5 running on an M1 Mac delivers up to 60 percent better DirectX 11 performance than on an Intel-based MacBook Pro with Radeon Pro 555X GPU.
  • Up to 30 percent better virtual machine performance (Windows): Running a virtual machine (VM) of Windows 10 on ARM Insider Preview on Parallels Desktop 16.5 on an M1 Mac performs up to 30 percent better than a Windows 10 VM running on Intel-based MacBook Pro with Intel Core i9 processor.

Parallels made sure that the best features of Parallels Desktop work with Apple's M1 chips, including coherence mode, shared profiles, Touch Bar controls, and the ability to customize your keyboard menu and shortcuts.

If you already have a license for Parallels Desktop 16 for Mac, you can upgrade to Parallels Desktop 16.5 at no additional cost. A new subscription costs $80 per year and a new perpetual license costs $100. There are also discounts for people upgrading from Parallels Desktop 14 or 15.

Sean Endicott
Sean Endicott

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

9 Comments
  • Who needs MacOS on a Windows laptop? Exactly no one, ever. Always amusing to see Mac users needing Windows. Never been a thing the other way.
  • When has MacOS on a Windows machine ever been a mainstream option? Never. There was a time when there were lots of applications available on Mac's that had no peer in Windows, so people bought MACs to get their work done. There were then, and still are, some applications not available on the MAC, e.g. Access, Project, that people may have occasional need of. Mac users don't need Windows, they may however need an application or two that is only available under Windows.
  • Many need a Windows VM to test the apps they have developed for the platform or for some quirky work task such as needing IE to (still) do something. Others install Windows just because they can. With a Mac, you have it all covered. Never been a thing the other way.
  • Yeah, and that's precisely why many developers get MacBooks as it pretty much covered for cross-platform needs. If you are mobile app developer, then MacBook or desktop Macs is a must, unless you just don't want or plan to develop iOS apps, which is a huge strong chunk loss from its userbase. Since getting a Mac still allows you to have Windows on it through VM or even dual-boot (Boot Camp). Though with move to M1, Boot Camp isn't available on these machines, at least for now.
  • Didn't make it clear that this 'Windows' is a virtual machine (VM) of Windows 10 on ARM Insider Preview. ARM and insider Preview. Those are time limited and Beta by definition.
  • Except that its a beta developer ISO for Windows 10 on ARM that isn’t going to be released as an official ISO, and doesnt support the majority of windows applications outside of windows store apps. You’re utterly fooling yourself if you think a modern M1 mac can emulate windows properly. For those with Apple envy you may as well buy an Intel mac while you still can.
  • Who says it doesn't support the majority of Windows applications? x86 applications are emulated.
  • It runs better than a Surface Pro X...
  • Only on Parallels - works beautiful!